Picture Fills for Slide Backgrounds in PowerPoint 2013
Learn how to apply picture fills as slide backgrounds in PowerPoint 2013.
Author : Geetesh Bajaj
Product/Version: Microsoft PowerPoint 2013
OS: Windows 7 and 8
For most of our presentations, we all use pictures so often! A picture in PowerPoint can be used in many ways -- as a picture you insert, as a picture you place within a shape, or even as something that covers the entire slide as a background. In this tutorial, we will look at the last option -- that lets you use a picture as a slide background. Before you begin, you need to put in plenty of thought into whether the picture you are using will work as a slide background or not? So how do you determine if a picture will work as a background or not? First of all, stay away from:
- Pictures with areas representing many colors
- Bright pictures
- Pictures that have recognizable human faces
- Pictures that "refuse" to stay in the background
Look at the slide on the top within Figure 1, below -- and then compare it with the
slide at the bottom within the same figure -- on at least three of the four counts explained above, the
top slide fails. The bottom slide has none of the inherent weaknesses mentioned above, and in fact works
with text of almost all colors!
Figure 1: Choose your background pictures wisely
So what if you must use a certain picture for your slide background even if it is full of color,
highly saturated, or even crowded? You can "mellow" the picture and use it, as explained in our
Picture Backgrounds in PowerPoint 2013 tutorial.
In addition, you can also choose texture as you slide background fill. In this tutorial we cover picture fills for slide backgrounds, and will look at texture fills in a our Texture Fills for Slide Backgrounds in PowerPoint 2013 tutorial.
Before we go further, let us explore how picture fills are different from texture fills. Although both picture or texture fills work very similarly, choosing one option over the other can make the same background look so different. While a picture background results in your slide using a single picture as a backdrop, using a texture background can result in the same picture being tiled across the slide background. Also some pictures lend themselves better to being used as textures, especially if they are seamless.
To learn the difference between picture fills and texture fills, look at Figure 2 below -- the sample slide on the left uses a picture fill that fills the entire slide expanse while the sample slide on the right uses the same picture as a texture fill -- you can see that multiple tiles of the same picture form a texture fill.
Figure 2: Same picture used as a picture fill and a texture fill
Follow these steps to learn how you can use picture fills for your slide background in PowerPoint 2013:
- We assume you have a new presentation created, or you have opened any of your existing
presentations. We also assume that you have summoned the Format Background
Task Pane, as explained in
Slide Background tutorial. Alternatively, just right-click within an empty area of your slide and choose the
Format Background option in the resultant contextual menu (highlighted in
red with Figure 3) to
bring up the same Task Pane.
Figure 3: Summon the Format Background options
- Within the Format Background
Task Pane, select the
Picture or Texture Fill radio button, as shown highlighted in
red within Figure 4.
Figure 4: Picture or Texture Fill radio button selected within the Format Background Task Pane
When you select the Picture or Texture Fill radio button, you can see a live preview of your active slide with tiled texture fill. Make sure to deselect the Tile picture as texture check-box (marked as D in Figure 4, above). Deselecting this check-box will ensure that you apply a stretched picture fill. Your slide background will auto-update with any changes you make in the Format Background task pane. The options within the Format Background task pane are explained below, as marked in Figure 4, above:
- Insert picture from: You can choose from three options:
- File: Click this button to open the Insert Picture dialog box, as
shown in Figure 5. Within this dialog box, navigate to the folder where the picture to
be used as the slide fill is located, select it, and click the Insert button (highlighted
in red within Figure 5).
Figure 5: Insert Picture dialog box
- Clipboard: This option fills the slide background with the content of the Clipboard.
If nothing is copied to the Clipboard, this button will be grayed out.
- Online: This bring up the Insert Pictures dialog box, as shown in
Figure 6. Within this dialog box you'll find the online picture service providers listed
- such as Office.com Clip Art, Bing Image Search, and from your
SkyDrive account. Other than these services you can add pictures from your
Facebook and Flickr accounts - but only after you connect to these
accounts from within PowerPoint. Learn more in our
Pictures in PowerPoint 2013 tutorial.
Figure 6: Insert Pictures dialog box with online picture services listed
- File: Click this button to open the Insert Picture dialog box, as shown in Figure 5. Within this dialog box, navigate to the folder where the picture to be used as the slide fill is located, select it, and click the Insert button (highlighted in red within Figure 5).
- Texture: Click the down-arrow located in this area to bring up the
Texture drop-down gallery, as shown in Figure 7. Choose from any of
these ready to use textures to change the slide background of your slide. These textures are not high
resolution, and may look blurred or pixelated when used as a fill. This however seem to work so much
better as tiled texture fills, which we explain in our
Fills for Slide Backgrounds tutorial.
Figure 7: Texture drop-down gallery within the Format Background pane
- Transparency: Control the transparency level of the picture you choose as a
slide background fill. You can use either the slider or directly type in the required transparency value.
- Tile picture as texture: When deselected, this check-box ensures that your selected
picture is used as a picture fill (full expanse) rather than a texture. Deselecting this check-box also
brings up the Offset options that let you further edit the picture fill -- we explain
- Offset options: These options show up in the Format Background
task pane only when the Tile picture as texture check-box is deselected. There are four (left, right, top, and bottom)
Offset adjustments in percentage values that enable you to adjust the picture edges along
the slide background edges. Tweak as required -- if you don't like the results, you can set all these offset
values back to their default 0% values.
- Insert picture from: You can choose from three options:
- Choose any of the options explained in the preceding step to fill your active slide with the selected
picture fill. Thereafter, you can proceed choosing any of the following options:
- Click the Apply to All button to fill all slides in the presentation with the
- Click the Reset Background button to abandon all changes you made to the slide
- Click the Apply to All button to fill all slides in the presentation with the selected picture.
- In Figure 8 you can see the slide background of the entire presentation filled with a
Figure 8: Presentation with a picture fill background
- Remember to save your presentation often.
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